Tag Archives: NRZ



At last night’s (4/11) Council Meeting, Councillor’s voted against the Officer’s recommendation to approve the permit application (outlined in the below posting) and opted to reject the application.   Councillors recognised that the proposed expansion of the Physio Practice was not supported by Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme (essentially, for reasons outlined in GERA’s below comments).

We congratulate the residents opposing this application, for undertaking significant research of the relevant planning scheme clauses and presenting a sound, well-argued case at both the Planning Conference and to Councillors over the recent Melbourne Cup weekend.   We also congratulate the Councillors for their willingness to review and accept the residents arguments.


Following on from our earlier posting on Medical Centres in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ)  residents have alerted us to Agenda – Item 9.1 to be discussed at next Wednesday’s (4/11) Council Meeting . The Officer’s Report (Rocky Camera, Manager, Statutory Planning) recommends approval for a proposed expansion of a 2 practitioner Medical Centre (ie. Physiotherapy Practice) to a 5 practitioner Centre (ie. a physiotherapy practice) in a Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

While resident objectors have advised that both the permit applicant, and the applicant’s representative, have close associations with Council’s Planning Staff, like GERA, they believe that

  • any owner of a property in Glen Eira (regardless of current or past Council associations) has a right to apply for a planning permit, and
  • that Council has appropriate procedures and process in place to ensure that all planning permits are fairly and independently assessed against the Glen Eira Planning Scheme, regardless of the applicant’s, or applicants representative’s, current or past Council associations.

This is as it should be.

However, that being said both GERA and the resident objectors do not believe that the permit complies with the Glen Eira Planning Scheme and are questioning the planning rationale behind the Officer’s recommendation (Officers Report Extract) to approve the permit application.

Property Background

  • the property is zoned NRZ and is located on corner of Kangaroo Road and Pelling Road in Murrumbeena, close to the Kangaroo and Poath Road intersection and in close proximity to the Hughesdale General Residential Zone and Murrumbeena Park.

  • the property was reportedly acquired sometime after the August 2013, zone implementation and was converted from a residence into a combined residence and physiotherapy practice.
  • While Kangaroo Road is a busy local road it is not designated as a Road Zone (ie. RDZ – a Main or Secondary Road) in the GE Planning Scheme. Pelling Road is quiet residential street of approx. 150 metres.

Why is a Planning Permit Required

Under the Zones implemented in August, 2013, Medical Centres (ie Physio Practice) are a permitted use (i.e. a planning permit for that use is not required) within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, provided certain conditions are met.   In this instance, one of the conditions contained in the NRZ definition, Clause 32.09-1, is not met, ie. that The site must adjoin, or have access to, a road in a Road Zone”.   Therefore, as Kangaroo Road is not a designated Road Zone a planning permit is required.

Planning Permit Application Summary

  • The permit seeks to expand the Physio Practice from a combined residence and 2 practitioner practice to a non-residential 5 practitioner practice.
  • On site (Off street) parking requirements are in accordance with the standards with
    • 4 car spaces for staff accessed via Kangaroo Road and
    • 13 car spaces for staff and clients, accessed via Pelling Road.

Officers Report Details

  • General
  • Public Notices
    • The Officers Report notes that 24 notices were sent to individual property owners and occupiers and resulted in the receipt of
      • 53 letters of Support (as per the Appendix – provided on a template letter)
      • 17 Objections
  • In the interests of transparency, at the Planning Conference, resident objectors specifically requested that the Officers Report include a comment to the effect that the 53 letters of support are predominantly template letters that were sought by a close associate of the applicant, from members of a local sporting club sponsored by the Physiotherapy Practice. As such the Objectors felt they raised conflict of interest issues which should be noted.

Unfortunately, no such comment is included in the Officer’s Report

  • Reasons for Recommendation

The Officer’s “Reasons for Recommendation” are based on an assessment of the permit application against Council’s Planning Scheme Clauses 32.09 NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTIAL ZONE (Mandatory) and Clause 22.02 “NON-RESIDENTIAL USES IN RESIDENTIAL ZONES POLICY” (Non mandatory or Discretionary).

The intent of the Non Residential Uses policy is,

  • “ to provide direction for applicants in terms of minimising residential amenity impacts, preferred locations and design of non-residential uses and facilities … in a residential area” (Clause 22.02-1) and
  • “to encourage the development or extension of non-residential uses in suitable locations which comply with orderly and proper planning principles” ie “preferred locations” (Clause 22.02-2)
  • Preferred Location

The Non-Residential Uses policy defines “preferred locations” (Clause 22.02=9) as being along “main and secondary roads and on corner sites with vehicular access from service or side road” with this definition being further refined by the inclusion of a performance measure which identifies preferred locations “ as abutting main or secondary roads”.

Thus since Kangaroo Road is not defined as a major or secondary road, the permit application does not comply with either the mandatory Zone requirements or the non mandatory Non Residential Uses policy.

While the Officer’s Report acknowledges that Kanagroo Road is not a major or secondary road, the recommendation to approve is based, not on the planning scheme, but the statement that “it is a major Council road due to its relatively high volume of traffic

  • No. of Practitioners

As previously mentioned the permit application seeks to expand the Physio Practice from a combined residence and 2 practitioner practice to a non residential 5 practitioner practice.

This proposed 150% expansion proposal is not in compliance with the Non-Residential Uses Policy (Clause 22.02-5) which supports small scale medical centres in the residential zones by limiting the number of practitioners to two.

Despite this significant deviation from the policy, the Officer’s Report recommends permit approval as the deviation is “acceptable as the use is low in intensity”.  It is difficult to understand how such a deviation from policy can be considered as both “acceptable” and in line with the overall Non Residents Uses Policy intent of minimising residential amenity impacts.

  • Parking and Traffic
  • Somewhat of a misnomer, since this section of the Officer’s Report deals solely with parking.
  • With regards
    • on-site car parking requirements the objector’s agree that the required number of spaces has been provided. However, a reliance on tandem parking (Ie. one behind the other) for front staff car park and some rear parking spaces (staff and clients) indicates a likely increase in demand for on-street parking in a small residential road which already experiences high on-street parking demand due to it’s proximity to Murrumbeena Park.
    • Client car parking will be accessed via Pelling Road and will result in increased traffic volume and noise, particularly in Pelling Road, and in Murrumbeena Crescent.

No analysis of on-street parking demand or increased traffic volumes arising from the increased number of practitioners is presented.

In addition two significant points raised at the Planning Conference are not included in the Officer’s Report, these points are*

  • That the residents provided evidence of Physio Therapy Practices in the surrounding area that showed that the area is well serviced by the practices, the majority of which are located in preferred locations. Therefore, lack of existing services (ie. the concept of net community benefit) does not justify the location of clinic of this size in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (even though that zone is in close proximity to a growth zone).
  • The practices location is in close proximity to the Hugesdale growth zone (GRZ) which is a more appropriate location for a clinic of this proposed sizes and is in accordance with Council’s Planning Scheme, Clause 21.08 – INSTITUTIONAL AND NON RESIDENTIAL USES IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS which states

“The development and expansion of non-residential and institutional uses in residential areas is an issue that warrants attention. Medical centres, places of worship, childcare and kindergartens all, quite clearly, have a place within residential areas.  However, badly sited or controlled non-residential uses can progressively erode Glen Eira’s residential nature. The Non-Residential Use in Residential Zones Policy and Child Care Centres Policy have been developed to ensure that such uses are integrated into residential areas with a minimum impact or loss of residential amenity”

While GERA acknowledges that the Council has applied conditions to the permit application (related to hours of operation, signage, landscaping and “minor” aspects of car parking design), we believe that

  • in terms of the above points the Officer’s Report does not give adequate consideration to the permit’s non compliance with the Planning Scheme requirements or the amenity impacts of surrounding residents and
  • this inadequate consideration potentially has precedent setting implications for future proposed medical centre expansions across the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.



*Comments inadvertently omitted from our original post



Since the August, 2011 Zone Implementation we are receiving and increasing number of requests for information related to Medical Centres in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone – both for new Centres and the expansion of existing Centres.  Hence we thought it appropriate to provide our readers with an overview of the relevant Planning Scheme’s Clauses.

Clauses listed may be accessed via the Glen Eira Planning Scheme



32.09-1 Defines requirements for use as a Medical Centre as being

  • The gross floor area of all buildings must not exceed 250 square metres.
  • Must be located in an existing building.
  • The site must adjoin, or have access to, a road in a Road Zone (refer Clause 22.02)
  • Must not require a permit under clause 52.06 Car Parking – 01/07/2014

 While this Clause is predominantly applicable to new centres, with regards proposed expansions to existing centres, it provides a guideline of the Clause’s intended objectives re size, intensity of use and location.  These intended objectives and the Clause’s Decision Guidelines (a.k.a. factors which may be considered when assessing planning permit applications) should also be taken into account when reviewing planning permit applications for expanded use.

32.09-11 Decision Guidelines – 01/07/2013.

Non-residential use and development

In the local neighbourhood context:

  • Whether the use or development is compatible with residential use.
  • Whether the use generally serves local community needs.
  • The scale and intensity of the use and development.
  • The design, height, setback and appearance of the proposed buildings and works.
  • The proposed landscaping.
  • The provision of car and bicycle parking and associated accessways.
  • Any proposed loading and refuse collection facilities.
  • The safety, efficiency and amenity effects of traffic to be generated by the proposal.

CLAUSE 52.06 – CAR PARKING 01/07/2014

Applicable to a new medical centre or an increase in the floor or site area of an existing centre. It defines minimum car parking requirements.  One of the Clauses stated purposes is “To ensure that car parking does not adversely affect the amenity of the locality

52.06-9 Decision guidelines 19/4/2013

Included in the list of factors to be considered are:

  • The role and function of nearby roads and the ease and safety with which vehicles gain access to the site.
  • The protection and enhancement of the streetscape.
  • The provisions of landscaping for screening and shade.
  • The amenity of the locality and any increased noise or disturbance to dwellings and the amenity of pedestrians.


As per Clause 22.02-1, the “intent of the Policy is to provide direction for applicants in terms of minimising residential amenity impacts, preferred locations and design of non-residential uses and facilities … in a residential areas”

  • Non residential uses are defined as being a medical centres, places of worship and places of assembly.
  • Residential Areas are defined as being the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ), General Residential Zone GRZ), Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) and Mixed Use Zone (MUZ).

Clause 22.02-2 – Preferred Locations are defined “to encourage the development or extension of non-residential uses in suitable locations which comply with orderly and proper planning principles”.

Policies outlined in Clause 22.02-2 include

  • Encourage the location of non-residential uses in “preferred locations” including main and secondary roads and on corner sites with vehicular access from service or side road”. Please note that under the heading performance measures, preferred locations are “identified as abutting main or secondary roads”.
  • Main Roads
  • Consider other locations where it can be demonstrated that residential amenity will not be unreasonably compromised.
  • Direct uses to locations where there will be minimal impact on the local amenity, including through the introduction of traffic and parking of cars

 Clauses 22.02-3 (Siting and Design) and 22.02-4 (Landscaping)

These Clauses are primarily related to the building envelope, set backs and landscaping of street interfaces. As such they are best discussed when accompanied by a planning permit application.

Clause 22.02-5 General Amenity

                 The objective of this Clause is “to minimise the effect of  non                  residential uses on the residential amenity” via policies which

  • Ensure the intensity of the use, in terms of staff levels, numbers of people providing health services, patron numbers and hours of operation are appropriate to the site layout, locality and does not unreasonably impact the amenity of the neighbouring properties.
  • Promote small scale uses (no more than 2 people providing health services) to operate in the existing dwellings, in order to maintain the residential appearance and nature of the locality.
  • Minimize any visual and acoustic privacy impacts to neighbouring properties.

The Performance Measures (a.k.a. Decision Guidelines) include bench marks for operating hours, screening treatments for overlooking adjoining properties and acoustic treatments and screening required for noise abatement.

Clause 22.02-6

 The objective of this Clause is “to provide adequate and appropriate signage” via policies which “ensure that the proposed height, area and number of any signage is appropriate to the size and location of the development”

The Performance Measures (a.k.a. Decision Guidelines) include signage dimensions, heights and location.


 The below listing includes Clauses that are also relevant to Non Residential uses in Residential Areas, however, some content of these may also be included in the review of the above Clauses.



  • To ensure that non-residential uses are successfully integrated into residential zones with minimum impact and minimum loss of residential amenity.
  • To ensure community awareness and input into the long term expansion plans of large institutions in residential areas.



  • To ensure a greater diversity of housing to meet future housing needs.
  • To improve and protect the livability, neighbourhood character and amenity of Glen Eira.
  • To promote environmental, social and economic sustainability.
  • To stimulate and improve the vitality of Glen Eira’s commercial centres.
  • To improve access to housing for residents with special housing needs.
  • To ensure integrated neighbourhood planning of Glen Eira’s suburbs.


Part of the Municipal Strategic Statement that although including some aged components (eg. Key Land Use Vision – 19/01/2006), provides a broad overview of the Glen Eira’s Planning Framework.



Readers may or may not be aware of the spike in multi-unit, 3 & 4 storey planning applications in the areas designated as growth zones* (ie. former Housing Diversity Areas).   GERA’s previous postings (“Enough is Enough” Part 1 and Part 2) highlighted residents’ concerns re developments in Mavho and Loranne Streets in Bentleigh.   GERA is now receiving requests for objection preparation assistance from growth zone residents in all suburbs within the municipality. In all cases the development is seeking the maximum building envelope allowable (i.e. height, site coverage) with little regard for neighbourhood character.   Growth zone residents are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticisms of Council’s zone implementation (lack of consultation and information) and Councillors’ responses to their concerns related to specific planning permit applications.

Compared to the outcry occurring in the growth zones, the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (ie. NRZ1 – the former Minimal Change Areas or Residential 1 zone) has remained relatively quiet. However, that may change as NRZ residents begin to question the “certainty” and “protection” included in the Media Releases issued by the State Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and Glen Eira Council

  • Minister for Planning – 5/8/2013

“The Neighborhood Residential Zone will apply to nearly 80% of residential zoned land in the City of Glen Eira. These areas will be protected from apartment and unit style development with a maximum of only two homes permitted per lot with a two storey (eight metre) height limit.”

  • Glen Eira Council – 5/8/2013

“In the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, in addition to the new maximum 2 storey height limit, neighbourhood character will be further protected by a limit of not more than two dwellings per lot, site coverage limited to 50%, porous area to be at least 25%, private open space to be at least 60 square metres and a rear set back of at least 4 metres. This will allow more room for canopy trees and less run off into storm water.”

 Both media releases omitted to mention the impact of subdivision although that impact was known to both parties prior to zone implementation. As per the following notes of meetings between the DPCD and Council

  • April, 2013 (Glen Eira Council Director of Planning Akehurst named, other GEC attendees names redacted) – “subdivision may be a work around in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to allow more than 2 dwellings on a lot”
  • July 2013 – (Glen Eira Council Attendees – CEO Newton, Director of Planning Akehurst and then Mayor Jamie Hyams) – “Council believe that subdivision prior to unit development is the way around the maximum 2 dwelling within the NRZ”.

Use of subdivision is a legitimate and accepted means of dividing a one lot into 2 or more smaller lots for purposes of sale or development. While residents of middle ring suburbs may be accustomed to subdivision occurring post construction (ie. creation of strata tiles for multi-unit, multi-storey developments), it may also occur prior to construction (eg. for financing or other purposes) to increase a lots dwelling yield.

To achieve the levels of “certainty” and “protection” outlined in the Media Releases, Glen Eira’s zone implementation should have not only included height limits and the maximum no. of dwellings per lot in the mandatory zone definition but also minimum lot size.   Many other Councils have specified a minimum lot size or a minimum lot size range (eg. 250 – 400 sqm).   However, rather than specifying a minimum lot size Glen Eira has retained the previously existing criteria – if a lot size is larger than average (average determined as being the average lot size of the immediate surrounding properties). While this may have been effective in past, is expected to become much less effective in the future as more and more “immediate surrounding properties” are subdivided.   The Financial Review recently (5/9/2014) published an article entitled “Property Strategy: Subdivide and Conquer” on this issue.

In addition, to the known subdivision issue, Council’s implementation of the zones overlooked the implications for large lots (a.k.a “super lots”, lots equal to or greater than 2000 sqm).   To overcome this oversight, in December, 2013, Councillors unanimously approved preparation of Planning Scheme Amendment C115  for large lots within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. This amendment would have introduced a minimum lot size of 400 sqm for the 104 properties** within the NRZ that are greater than 2000 sqm. (Some of these lots are 8000 sqm). As stated in the report recommending preparation of the C115 Amendment, the amendment was proposed in response to pressures from developers and the realization that rather than subdivide, the developers preferred to seek spot Ministerial intervention to re-zone the super lots to General Residential Zone (3 storey, multi-unit developments). Such an intervention having been achieved by the developer of the Alma Club (7,100 sqm) which Council acknowledges as not noticed prior to the zone implementation.

To avoid spot interventions (ie. retain a level of “certainty” and “protection”) and thus ensure large lot developments in keeping with the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, GERA supported preparation of Amendment C115.   GERA believed the introduction of minimum lots sizes

  • was a reasonable solution to Council failing to recognise the 2 dwelling per lot issue for large lots prior to zone implementation. GERA doubts any resident would agree that “super lots” should be constrained to the 2 dwelling ruling.
  • may set a minimum lot size precedent for the NRZ which would be applied to all subdivisions in that zone. Within the NRZ there are many, many existing lots in the 800 – 1999 sqm range that are may be subdivided to increase their dwelling yield.

Since Amendment C115 has not been submitted for community consultation, a public question on it’s progress was asked at the 12/08/2013 Council Meeting

  • Question

In December last year, Council resolved to seek Ministerial approval to exhibit Amendment C115. Why has there been no reference to this in Council’s Quarterly Reports and what is the current position of this Amendment?”

  • Response

Amendment C115 concerns large lots (greater than 2,000m2) located within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. The aim of the amendment is to increase the number of dwellings beyond 2 which would be the maximum number for a large lot zoned Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ). Council cannot exhibit the amendment until authorisation is obtained from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (Minister).

 Authorisation has to date not been forthcoming on the basis that each large lot should have a stipulation as to how many dwellings will be allowed. This approach is not supported by Council officers as it would prejudge a dwelling yield in the absence of a specific development plan.”

 The above response, indicates that

  • The authorisation to prepare Amendment C115 for ministerial approval to submit for consultation was undertaken without advice from the Minister. Council officers and the Minister disagree on the solution and the Amendment has stalled. No advice was given on the pro’s and con’s of either solution.
  • Council’s preferred approach is for the developer to prepare a subdivision plan for each of the “super lots” as and when development is imminent.
  • Subdivision prior to development remains a “way around the maximum 2 dwelling within the NRZ” regardless of the size of the lot.

At the last Council Meeting (02/09/2014)  a subdivision plan, combined with building envelopes, was approved for the “super lot” located at 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena (3,142 sqm).

Readers may remember that GERA lobbied Council,  in December, 2012, to acquire this a cleared lot, adjacent to the existing the Riley Reserve, which would have substantially increased (60%) Riley Reserve and increased Glen Eira’s very limited parkland.

487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeenaa

Unfortunately, although a unique opportunity, Council did not acquire the property either in 2012 when it was sold to a developer ($2.7m) or in 2013, when it was on-sold for development (amount unknown). A previously VCAT issued planning permit for the site (“three (3) storey apartment building containing 28 dwellings above basement parking”) had lapsed prior to the 2012 sale and a “new” planning permit application had not been submitted prior the 2013 sale.

As previously mentioned, at it’s last meeting (02/09/2014) Council approved a planning permit application (No. GE/PP-26552/2014) for 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena. The permit comprised

  • A 7 lot subdivision of the site and
  • Planning approval of “building envelopes” (i.e. high level plans) for 7 two storey residences (one per subdivided lot).

The Officer’s Report reports the application “yields a density of approximately 1 dwelling per 448 square metres of site area”. However, residents should not confuse density yield with lot sizes. The density yield of 448 sqm is the result of a dividing the total lot size (given in the Report as 3138 sqm) with the number of dwellings. The actual lot sizes are much smaller than the density yield.

The lot sizes are

  • Lot 1 is 304 square metres
  • Lots 2-7 (inclusive) range in size from 199 square metres to 238 square metres

 487 Neerim Road Subdivision Plan Boundaries0001

The lots design (their location around the site perimeters abutting residential properties and the railway line) and their sizes being in line with the “constraints presented by the site”.  The constraints being the provision of pedestrian and vehicular access to the lots (to and from Neerim Road) and “significant trees located on the site”. Both the access to/from Neerim Road and the significant trees will be considered as located on “common property”

The Officers Report states that “The application is not a development application for multi-dwellings. The subdivision includes building envelopes for seven (7) future double storey dwellings”.   However, GERA is struggling to see why a subdivision plan for 7 lots and 7 building envelopes (which define building heights, foot prints and setbacks) should not be considered as a development application for multi-unit dwellings.  Residents future rights to lodge objections as more detailed plans become available may be curtailed (as with the Caulfield Village Development) because building heights, footprints and setbacks have already been approved.

As previously mentioned GERA believes NRZ residents will soon be questioning

  • the levels of “certainty” and “protection” the zoning provides, particularly with regards the known subdivision issue,
  • a potential minimum lot size precedent being set by the 497 Neerim Road permit approval.   With a 200 sqm lot size, it is possible to design a 2 storey single residence that satisfies the NRZ1 requirements for private open space, set backs, permeable surfaces etc.   In terms of a “super lot”, vehicle and pedestrian access  provisions will primarily determine how many 200 sqm lots with 2 storey residences can be accommodated on the site.  In terms of a medium lot of, say, 1000 sqm, subdivision (even allowing for provision of vehicle and pedestrian access) may will yield 4 individual strata title 2 storey dwellings where one previously existed.+
  • their rights to object to developments when building heights, footprints and setbacks have previously been approved.   Regardless of what it is called (eg “Incorporated Plan” or a “Building Envelope”), if followed by a more detailed plans (eg. ”Development Plan”) as the objectors to the Caulfield Village/C60 Development Plans were informed

“It is important to note that submission comments regarding the building heights, building footprints and/or setbacks cannot be taken into consideration by Council. This is because these were determined during the Amendment C60 process and cannot be altered as part of the Development Plan Assessment”++



* Growth Zones and Heights – refer are earlier post for brief details on permissible uses and detailed zone maps

RGZ                Residential Growth Zone – Height Limit 13.5m (4 stories)

GRZ                General Residential Zone – Height Limit 10.5m (3 stories)


** “Super lots” – The Officers Report did not include any details (eg. ownership, location, size) of the 104 “super lots”, nor did the Report indicate if Council was considering lodging a Parkland Acquisition Overlay on any or each of the properties.

Errata – 24/9/2014

+ and ++ = clarification added to initial posting as requested by residents